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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Strategic priorities.

In order to develop, the Aboriginal nations need to rely on their strengths. In other words, they must rely on fulfilled, skilled individuals rooted in a vigorous culture who are enthusiastic about the future and who are assets for the Aboriginal nations. At the same time, they must rely on dynamic communities characterized by healthy social relationships imbued with solidarity.

We know that the healing process demands a great deal of sorrow and effort. Among other things, it demands that individuals recover from the profound after-effects of a still recent past. The process will, of course, be lengthy, but the movement is resolutely under way and is apparent throughout Québec, especially in the determination of Aboriginal young people and women, who are increasingly becoming agents for change.

Work together for change

This initial Government Action Plan for the Social and Cultural Development of the First Nations and Inuit is a concrete commitment by the Québec government in respect of the healing process of Québec’s Aboriginal nations. It implements measures in an array of crucial areas: language, culture, health and social services, education, employment, housing, justice, sexual abuse, domestic violence, public security, research, gender equality, youth, and citizen involvement. The initiatives under the strategy hinge on four strategic priorities:

  1. enhance services;
  2. promote the Aboriginal cultures and languages;
  3. develop the ability to act of individuals and communities; and
  4.  promote consensus building and research.

The measures in the action plan draw on the numerous sectoral consultations carried out in recent years by Québec government departments and bodies. The deliberations were accompanied by a general consultation organized by the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones on January 25 and 26, 2017, in which 100 Aboriginal organizations (band councils, northern villages, province-wide, service, community and other organizations) participated. The action plan therefore endeavours to respond within the framework of the Québec government’s jurisdiction and means to the needs expressed by the Aboriginal peoples, whether they live on reserves or in urban environments.

It also marks a major shift in the manner of conceiving the Québec government’s action with respect to the social and cultural development of the First Nations and Inuit. The incorporation into a single instrument of this action implies, indeed, a significant reorganization of government intervention as regards broader coherence and the widespread application to public services of the principle of cultural safety and relevance.

The action plan is also meant to be an evolving approach that will focus on the needs and concerns expressed by the First Nations and Inuit during its five-year duration. Accordingly, the measures presented do not immediately represent the sum of its ambitions. It is not a closed document. Indeed, as its implementation proceeds, measures proposed by the Aboriginal communities can possibly be added to it. The Québec government wishes to pursue dialogue and wants the action plan to be an open, dynamic initiative.

For this reason, the action plan will also be able to accommodate initiatives inspired by the impending recommendations of the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Québec government also wishes for the measures in the action plan to be implemented in a spirit of collaboration. It therefore invites the First Nations and Inuit to agree with it on a common structure that will monitor its implementation.

Seek reconciliation, nation to nation

The action plan responds directly to the call launched to governments by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015 and it seeks to serve as a foundation in the reconciliation between the Aboriginal peoples and non-natives in Québec. It thus rounds out significant actions undertaken by the Québec government over the past 40 years, in particular the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Northeastern Quebec Agreement, the “Fifteen Principles,” the motion in the National Assembly on the recognition of the Aboriginal peoples’ rights, the establishment of the AIF, and the Peace of the Braves.

Mutual aid and support and discussion were the hallmarks of the initial relations between Quebecers’ ancestors and the First Peoples. We must strive to return to this conciliatory state and restore, nation to nation, the historic partnership that was broken by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This action plan is meant to be a milestone in the ongoing effort to restore trust and respect and a concrete manifestation of the Québec government’s desire to put right the mistakes of the past.

Québec must no longer tolerate the living conditions that afflict too many Aboriginal peoples, nor any longer deprive itself of the contribution of thousands of citizens whose capacities are for the time being only latent. Such suffering and the attrition of talent has gone on too long.

The healing of the Aboriginal nations and reconciliation are the necessary path of the project to which history invites us, together, non-natives and the Aboriginal peoples, to build the Québec of tomorrow.

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Le contexte. Les orientations. Axes d'intervention. Les mesures. Conclusion.

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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
Last update: April 24, 2018
Online as of : June 28, 2017